Quotes of the Week
“I know there’s always a lot of speculation when I’m injured. So, I’m going to go on the injured report starting now under ‘body’ and keep me there all season.”
—Peyton Manning, after hurting his ankle last week in Indianapolis and looking hobbled at times in the Denver rout of Washington Sunday.
“You have to understand the beast that’s playing quarterback. Once a guy like that gets in front of the whole defense, he’s a legit 4.4. It’s real.”
—Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark, after Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor ran for the longest touchdown in Oakland franchise history, 93 yards, in a 21-18 Raiders victory Sunday.
“I walked around our house singing, ‘Hail to the Redskins’ as a kid. So it’s something I always looked at as a very positive thing. But I understand the other side of that.”
—Commissioner Roger Goodell, asked about the Washington Redskins name Saturday in London.
“I’ve definitely put the work in, the time in and everything I need to do to be one of the elite players. It’s just that time. Third year coming around, I feel great, I feel no pressure and I’m just out there relaxed playing football. It’s just time for me to finally meet everyone in America and for my team and everyone in the NFL to know this Corey Liuget, number 94 for the San Diego Chargers, is a damn good football player.”
“There’s a lot of people that could really care less about myself right now, including myself.”
—Carolina quarterback Cam Newton, last week before the 31-13 victory over Tampa Bay.
I think he’s talking about shrugging off individual accolades, but I’m not sure. I just thought the quote came out of The Onion until I saw him say it, and I liked it.
Stat of the Week
At some point, the NFL’s going to have to acknowledge the efficiency of field-goal kickers is just too good. And the league is either going to have to narrow the goalposts or put a different point value on field goals from different distances.
When kickers are making 19 of 20 field-goal tries, on average, from inside the 40-yard line (stunning but true) and two-thirds of their attempts beyond 50 yards (and they are: 45 of 68, or 66.2%), you know this isn’t what the game is supposed to be. Kicking field goals has just become too easy.
This easy, as the season nears the midpoint:
From inside the 40-yard line: 230 of 245, 93.9%.
From between the 40- and 49-yard line: 126 of 153, 82.4%.
And the biggest waste of time in sports is the point-after. Six were missed all season last year, and this year, only two of 524 have gone awry. It is positively insane that the NFL doesn’t either eliminate the PAT, move the snap way back from the 2-yard line, or force teams to go for two. Something. Anything. For years, it’s been a nothing play, and the Competition Committee refuses to do anything tangible about it.
I know some will say, “Wait until the weather turns. Then you’ll see the percentages go down.” And they will. But by how much? The field goal is simply not challenging enough. Do we want the game to be so boring, to lack any suspense, when a kicker steps up to make a field goal? I can tell you the founding fathers of this game never dreamed the kickers would be so great that they would be good on 87 percent of their field goals through nearly half a season.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is playing well beyond his years. He is 19. He turns 20 Wednesday. The redshirt sophomore hasn’t said whether he is coming out of school and entering the 2014 draft; he’d be a candidate to be the first overall pick if he chooses. But it is worth noting that on the first day of the draft next May, Mariota will be 20 years, 6 months and 9 days old. Imagine Mariota coming out, getting picked by Jacksonville, and beating Tennessee next September. He won’t be able to celebrate with a cold beer—at least not legally.
Mariota’s almost a full year younger than any other quarterback who may get picked in the first round next year. The age on draft day next May of some of the bright QB prospects:
• Tajh Boyd, Clemson: 23 years, 7 months, 14 days.
• Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville: 21 years, 5 months, 29 days.
• Derek Carr, Fresno State: 23 years, 1 month, 11 days.
• Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: 21 years, 5 months, 3 days.
• A.J. McCarron, Alabama: 23 years, 7 months, 26 days.
• Zach Mettenberger, LSU: 22 years, 9 months, 23 days.
• Braxton Miller, Ohio State: 21 years, 5 months, 9 days.
• Aaron Murray, Georgia: 23 years, 5 months, 29 days.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
The MMQB’s Robert Klemko had to fly from Chicago to Detroit Sunday morning to cover Lions-Cowboys, and he reported this to me when he landed:
“I get on this plane from Chicago to Detroit, and these Japanese people, five of them, boarded the plane all carrying different stuffed animals. A teddy bear in an Army uniform, another teddy bear in a pilot uniform. I’d say they were in their late 20s, early 30s. One of them was a guy, and his bear was dressed in an American desert camo uniform.
“They were clutching these animals as if they were children. So I am sitting amidst them. The flight is taking off, and they’re not panicked or anything—but they’re whispering things in Japanese to the bears as if they were children. Then they just held them for the rest of the flight.
“I mean, they were holding them like they were breathing, like they were babies. Maybe they want kids and they are practicing for it. I don’t know. But there is something strange going on there.”
Tweets of the Week
“#PatriotsTalk On Halftime Time on CSNNE.com, Troy Brown calls for Ryan Mallett to replace Tom Brady if it gets to be 24-3.’’
—@CSNNE, the Twitter account for Comcast SportsNet New England, which employs former Patriots receiver/returner/defensive back Troy Brown.
New England was down 17-3 at the half, playing dreadfully. New England scored two touchdowns in a two-minute third-quarter span. New England went on to beat Miami, 27-17.
New England did not take Troy Brown’s advice.
“Jimmy Graham > plantar fasciitis”
—@themantz, The MMQB senior producer and resident Saintsphile Tom Mantzouranis, after Graham, battling a painful heel injury, scored his second touchdown in a five-minute span of the Bills-Saints game Sunday.
“Dalton making this s— look like pop warner.”
—@iluvTERRICKA, Terricka Cason Cromartie, the wife of Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, in the midst of the Jets’ 49-9 loss to Cincinnati, keyed by five touchdown passes from Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton.
“I miss holding a baby – all my little guys are old.”
Yes, that Barry Sanders.
“The Immaculate Obstruction #allcopyrights #redsox #stlcards”
—@JoelSherman1, New York Post baseball columnist.
“Sitting in stands. Fans had no idea why their team won. As someone once said, most bizarre finish you’ll ever see. #WorldSeries”
—@miketirico, in St. Louis to call the Monday night game between the Seahawks and Rams for ESPN.